Nike

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. This is another one that's pretty old but still hopefully good. R/R if you think so.

I stare at the chalk white line inches below me. My sneakers are laced tight. For a few seconds I stare at the line, at where I want to escape from. Then I force my gaze ahead of me. Ahead, that's where I need to be. I need to be ahead of them. I need to beat them. The only way to do that is outrun them. Not outsmart them or physically outmatch them but outrun them. Speed has always been my weapon. Now it is my savior. One more glance at the line below me. I mumble a quick prayer to a god that I only half-heartedly believe exists. Soon I'll know for sure. I close my eyes, tense my body, and then explode.

Sometimes I laugh at what happens when I start running. It's like shifting gears on a car. My potential suddenly expands; what were once my limits are now laughably easy to overcome. I can do anything. The fast I go the surer of myself I become that I can go even faster. A little demon in my mind says it's not enough. More speed. I need more. It's like a drug, the best high ever. If I just push myself then I can get more. I need it, want it, crave it. Speed lets me know I'm alive. It's very ironic that in the end it will also kill me.

I'm only in low gear. 200 mph is cruising speed for me. That's fine for now. I've created my own progress chart, my own expectations for myself. It's laughable now to realize that the expectations I place on myself are as unrealistically high as those Father has for me. I must be the best, I must win, I must surpass every limitation set before me. I am better than them. I'm better than the humans, better than the X-clowns, better than the Brotherhood. No one knows it yet though. I have to prove it to them and once that's done then I have to keep proving it to them over and over again until it sinks in.

200 mph? That's child's play. My demons are catching up. My legs automatically increase their effort. My heart speeds up and the blood rushes through my veins in a frantic pace to keep up with my supercharged spirit. My body is weak; I am weak. I let them down. I let her down. She hates me now. It doesn't matter. She was left in the dust a long time ago. I have somewhere else to be. My body is weak and I learned my lessons from Father well. Weakness must be expelled. Perhaps now I shall make him proud of me. How foolish of me. I forgot that pride is also a weakness.

I can do anything. I tell myself that all the time. It's all a matter of priorities really. All I have to do is sacrifice everything I love and then I will be the best at what I do. What else will I really have to live for? The blood must be rushing to my head. I'm talking in riddles and circles now.

I wonder if everyone realizes exactly what kind of person they've helped create. Do they see the need for love, acceptance, approval? Do they see how much I desperately want someone to tell me how good I am? Confidence is strong but how much you believe in yourself depends upon how much other people believe in you. I haven't given anyone any cause to believe in me. No, all I do is screw things up.

I'm up around 700 mph. My legs are aching but not from pain. They long for more. My heart is racing, my blood is rushing, my adrenaline is pumping. I am alive, I am free. I am Pietro freakin' Maximoff. I'm better than you, smarter than you, more handsome than you, and wittier than you. I am so much more than anyone but still I can be more. 'Prove it,' says the little demon in my head, 'I dare you. 700 mph. Bullshit. You can do so much better. Let's see what you can really do.' Sounds like a challenge to me. How can I refuse?

I see him now. Father. I hate him. I hate him because no matter what happens, no matter how much I run, I can't escape his shadow. I can never be anything but the son of Eric Lehnsherr. Nothing more, so much less. I hate him for cursing me with his foul legacy. I hate him for forcing me into a destiny I never wanted to be a part of. Most of all, I hate him for leaving us, pretending like everything was okay when he came back, and then taking away my sister. As I pass him, his image fades like a ghost. I win.

I see Wanda next, trying to run alongside me and catch up. We used to play tag when we were little kids. She used to get mad at me when I started to use my powers. It wasn't cheating. Some people have different skills. If I didn't employ all my skills then how could I meet the challenge? I always won those games. I was always first at everything. First born, first to discover my powers, first to give in to our father's perversions and start down this road to darkness. No, Wanda, you cannot follow. You can't go where I'm going, dear sister. The trail I blaze is for me alone. I kick into another gear and leave her behind. She was meant for a better path anyway.

My heart is screaming but I will not slow down. It's what teenagers are supposed to do, right? We live fast and die young. I've lived fast and now I will die young. This is the last great joy for me in a life of pain and agony. I want to feel the freedom, the euphoria, one last time. I had to end it this way. An extraordinary end to an extraordinary person. Any average schmuck can end his life with a blade or pills or a rope. I will be over in a blur and I'll go out with a bang.

Mach one. My top speed. I can do more though. My spirit is already screaming down the track. It longs to do so much more than my body will allow. Again I fall short of my own expectations. Again I am reminded that with all my power and inhumanity I am still mortal. I'll prove them all wrong though. You haven't seen what I can do. Not by a long shot.

I always knew it would end this way. I was meant to burn out. You can only keep pushing yourself so hard until two things happen. In the end, you either push yourself into oblivion or you simply have no more left to give. I look to my left. Everything moves so slowly when you're going so fast. I see myself beside me. I look good. Cocky smirk, mischievous eyes, devil-may-care fa├žade. 'Bet you can't go any faster,' he says to me with a grin. Running against myself. I've lapped all my other demons. This one is one that'll be hard to beat. The insecurities grip me now. I know why Father is so disappointed and why Wanda hates me. I'm a failure, a letdown, a horrible son and an equally shitty brother. I can never measure up.

I stare at my opponent. Quicksilver. He's the best. He gets all the girls, makes all the good grades, says all the right things. He's perfect. He exceeds his father's wildest ambitions while still maintaining his loyalty to his friends and family. He is perfect but I can beat him. If I can beat him then I can beat anything. 'Show me,' he dares again, 'You'll never be as good as I am. Prove me wrong. I dare you.' You're on. I kick myself into an unknown gear. I smell the smoke of my shoes. My heart is beating so fast that I can no longer make out the spaces between beats. The line is approaching. I begin to pass my ghost. Almost there. Almost perfect. If I can dig deeper then I can make it. I hit an untapped potential and suddenly the line is behind me. My legs freeze up. My heart suddenly stops. I collapse. As I lay there dying, I give myself a pat on the back. I am the best. I'm better than Father, better than the Brotherhood, better than my own insecurities and demons. I beat them all and now the new challenge of what's on the other side awaits me. I felt it all along when I ran. Every time it was like I was on the verge of breaking into a new world. My potential is limitless without a body to house my spirit and hold it back. I beat them all. As everything fades to black, I can only think one last thought. Where is the trophy for my victory?